The Dos and Don’ts of Pitching an Idea.

Our team loves to hear new ideas. Whether it’s helping out at Startup Weekend Pittsburgh or trudging through the rain to the South Side, we’ll do almost anything to hear budding (or seasoned) entrepreneurs share their vision for the next great startup.

Not only have we listened to pitches, but we’ve also pitched a few (or a few dozen) ideas ourselves. We’ve had hits and misses with our pitches.

Based on our experiences with success and failure, we’ve got a bit of advice for those of you who want to pitch an idea.

Don’t Show Up Uninformed.

what are you doing

Do Your Research.

A lot of people believe in the “one word pitch” but even if you go that super succinct route, you need to do a lot of research before you pitch your idea.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Research your idea. Did someone already think of it? 

2. Know the pros and cons of your idea.

3. Plot out a full pitch. Shorten your pitch from there, if necessary. 

4. Research different kinds of pitches. Do you go with the question pitch? Maybe the one word is for you? If you’re inventive and have some incentive, you could take some time and come up with a rhyme.

5. Learn about your audience. Are they the right audience for your idea? What do they like? Find out if there are any articles or blogs where they discuss what they like to hear in a pitch. They might hate unconventional pitches and your awesome rhyme could lead to some not-so-awesome eye-rolling.

Don’t be Boring.

this is boring

Do Bring Your Passion.

We’ve all been subjected to boring speeches. Two minutes can feel like two hours when there’s no passion involved.

You love your idea. You believe in it. The most important thing that you can do to sell that idea is to bring the energy of that belief to your pitch.

We know pitching an idea can be intimidating – even for those of us who’ve done it before!  Let your passion be stronger than your intimidation. Remember that you know more about your idea than they do. They are there for you. They want to hear you. They want to be excited by your idea. So don’t hold back.

Don’t be Long Winded.


Do Make Your Point.

You have a limited amount of time in which to pitch your idea. Don’t fill that time with unnecessary information. Focus on the most crucial and interesting aspects of your idea. Even if you aren’t going the way of the one word pitch, it’s a good idea to focus your concept down to one captivating word as part of your preparation.

Infuse your pitch with your research and your passion, but keep your focus on the core of your idea.

Got it? Good. Now Go Pitch that Great Idea!

go pitch



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